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Intel could be forced to go fabless – Via

Opens doors to rapprochement with chip giant

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CeBIT 2000 Wen Chi Chen, president and CEO of Via, formally introduced the Cyrix III chip here at CeBIT today but in the process introduced several new elements. Despite the slides being very similar to those shown in San Jose three days back, Mr Chi Chen expanded on his company's plans. He said that Via will stay fabless, because of the low cost model the company is pursuing, and suggested that major competitor Intel might also eventually have to pursue a fabless model. That, he said, was because the main application right now is the Internet and that meant there would be billions of devices at the low end. He said that took a lot of cash to build a new fab and that even premium lines in the future could follow the fabless model. On the technology side, Via will continue to enhance the South Bridge technologz,* and would integrate ADSL and wireless options into future offerings. Further, he said, DDR (double data rate) memory will become the mainstream memory technology of the future. Via had changed former Cyrix codenames Gobi and Mojave on the grounds that they were based on the idea that Intel's riverlike codenames would run into the desert sand of the processors. But Samuel I, he said, will be different from Joshua, while an integrated offering codenamed Matthew was likely to compete favourably against Intel's Timna offering. Via was able, because of the intellectual property it had, to produce the Cyrix technology in both Slot 1 and Socket 370 offerings, he said. And Gigahertz performance was not necessarily important, seeing that people could theoretically ramp horsepower to over 10,000 cc, even though it gave little more performance in a practical sense. He claimed Via had a very good relationship with practically every motherboard member, and also stated that unlike Intel, although he did not name that firm, Via was not trzing* to compete with customers. However, Mr Chi Chen said that he welcomed Andy Grove's statement, reported in The Register last week, that Intel thought competition from AMD and Via was good for the industry, possibly opening the door for a compromise over ist current legal battle with the chip giant. ® * NB Readers - The Register's UK editors have noted the curious collapses of spelling by our man on the spot in Germany, but have left them in because he's obviously wrestling with a German keyboard, and it's a laugh, innit?

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